Linking the basic drill to improve the whole stroke

Linking the basic drill to improve the whole stroke

Sweetenham, Bill

Drill 1

This first 50 teaches streamlining and stable body position with the athlete feeling water pressure both above and below the body. Having to travel through the water, the athlete will learn to take the “line of least resistance,” and combined with “no breath” for 25 meters, will learn accelerated fast kick, streamlined body position and stable body position.

The progression eventually moves to an “arms folded” position, which is a significantly more difficult one. It also provides more stimulus to develop this skill and adaptation further. Kicking on the back develops upper body stabilization and an accelerated kick with priority given to kicking with minimum upper body undulation.

Drill 2

This drill emhhasizes body position (water pressure above and below body), timing of the breath, hand acceleration through the back of the stroke and head position. With head position, it is the face looking, (It the bottom, and the chin only Slightly tucked and on the surface, forehead forward on the breathing section just prior to trm recovery. This is dine while maintaining kicking speed and bodi- position developed in the first 50.

Drills 3 and 4

These steps further progress the skills learned in Drills 1 and 2 (1 x 50), while adding more arm strokes and, again, maintaining kicking speed and body position. This also develops the weakest and less propulsive sections of the stroke being the initial and final part. It is extremely difficult to commence a pull pattern incorrectly and, then, still get it right. Start properly-finish it properly.

Drill 5

This repeat is completed by swimming as slowly as possible with absolutely perfect technique and timing with the least number of strokes-the timing of kicking, breathing and arm stroke in perfect timing without pressure of speed or effort.

Drill 6

This 50 is completed by putting the priority on the number of strokes as a primary demand, and the timing of breathing, kick and arm stroke as a secondary demand, as an exact contrast to the emphasis on Drill 5-50 meter swim, 16 strokes per 50 males and 18 per 50 for fe

Drill 7

This 50-meter swim combines all of the above repeats and skills, puts them together under pressure for time and stroke counts over 50 meters while maintaining perfect technique and, eventually, race pace.

This progression of drills can also include underwater sculling with the arms as a further development after streamlining and arms-folded progressions have been learned and perfected. These or similar progressions are available in all four strokes and can include a turning stroke progression as well. The progression must commence with the basics and “link” to a full stroke that combines distance, stroke count and speed under pressure of goal race pace.

This can then be incorporated into the test set as outlined. Is performance determined by a breakdown in fitness or efficiency (or lack of technique)? A drill done in isolation or done incorrectly is of minimum benefit when compared to a link progression completed perfectly and frequently. Linking technique enhancement drills to maximum efficiency will guarantee both athlete and coach permanent precision performance.

-By Bill Sweetenham

Copyright Sports Publications, Inc. Apr-Jun 1998

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